The Pont-Vieux d'Albi is one of the old bridges of medieval origin still in use. When visiting the city, crossing it provides access to one of the most beautiful views of the Berbie Palace and Sainte-Cécile Cathedral. A link between the two banks of the Tarn, the Pont-vieux is a heritage element of Albi, registered in the UNESCO perimeter of the Episcopal City and classified as a historical monument since 1961.
A once fortified bridge
Imagine this bridge, 151m long, locked on either side by drawbridges, hence the narrower arches seen at the ends. It was defended in its center by the fortified tower of Notre Dame, which has now disappeared. Indeed in the 100th century, the period is the 6 years war, with bands of wandering looters. Albi is protected by XNUMX gates equipped with a drawbridge, one of which is at deck level.
Back in history : in 1040, the construction of a bridge is decided and financed by part of the income from the ferry operated by the Chapter to cross the Tarn. At that time, France experienced a "bridge fever" due to the development of traffic, a consequence of productive, demographic and commercial growth. In the 60th century, this bridge had a completely different look, since half-timbered houses of 80 to 1766 m² straddled the roadway. Eleven families lived there, tanners, shoemakers, weavers, fullers, fruit merchants. In XNUMX, following a major flood of the Tarn, the City bought the damaged houses to destroy them.
A toll bridge over the Tarn
In the twelfth century, Albi is an important crossroads on the roads between the Mediterranean and the ocean, from the Basque Country and from Toulouse to Lyon, as well as from Catalonia to Paris. Fairs and markets then play a role of primary importance. Point of obligatory passage, the Pont-vieux allows you to levy a toll.
A very comprehensive price list dated 1245 refers to 200 items. This document is very rich in information on daily life, the nature of exchanges on the Albi market, the diversity of measures and the nature of transport. You can find there:
- raw materials for the tannery, tannery, textile industry
- finished products, utensils, work instruments
- the trade in Carmaux charcoal and pastel.
Port activity in Albi
Le Tarn is in the Middle Ages, the bed of an important river trade which is done on boats which bear the name of barges: flax, hemp, saffron, wine, wood. THE Port Vielh of Albi, below the Pont-Vieux, was teeming with life and various activities until the end of the XNUMXth century.
Today, the barges are still present on the Tarn, to the delight of visitors this time.
Activity to do on sunny days
Mini cruise on the Tarn
The fleet of boats'Albi cruises gives a nod to this historical tradition and approaches the city, its bridges, its geographical location “differently”. In Albi, cruising is fun!